David Hamilton: What a momentous day today, Mr Speaker. I was able to vote for a victory on the Labour side, which makes it a great day for me to finish my parliamentary career. Coming here was the last thing on my mind when I left school at the age of 15 and I went down the pit on my 16th birthday. I worked in the collieries for about 20 years through the dark days of the miners’ strike. I shall touch on...
David Hamilton: Yes.
David Hamilton: I am mindful of the time, Mr Speaker, but I think it important to remember that, while one role of the Whips is to enforce the position of the party that they represent, the second role—the role that is not seen—is the compassionate role. May I suggest a change that could be made by the two major parties? They should appoint a senior Whip to be in charge of the welfare of Members,...
David Hamilton: I used to do that.
David Hamilton: Yep.
David Hamilton: Yep.
David Hamilton: No.
David Hamilton: I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on bringing forward this debate. The issue at stake is getting fairness right throughout the regions. It is not just about Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or, indeed, London, which, as everybody seems to forget, already has an assembly; at the end of the day, we are looking to get to a position where everything is seen to be transparent and fair for all...
David Hamilton: Will the Minister give way?
David Hamilton: I hope to take all five minutes for my speech, Mr Speaker. I apologise for that, but though I rarely speak in the Chamber, it would be remiss of me not to speak on this subject. I am going to put a different spin, if that is agreeable, on what has been said already. I started in the pit when I was 15 and was going down the pit at 16. I will not go over all the history, but I worked in the pit...
David Hamilton: I am not surprised. The SNP were tartan Tories in the past and they are making a similar alliance now. The Government have not agreed an inquiry, but they should.
David Hamilton: I accept and agree with everything that has been said. I was present at the Auchengeich disaster memorial, which reminds us of the price of coal. It is really important that we get that in perspective. I worked in a colliery for 20 years and was there during the miners strike. Although this is my story, it reflects what happened right through the coalfield. I spent from October to December...
David Hamilton: I havnae got time. Victimisation happens right now. Just look at Grangemouth. They sacked the senior shop steward there—this is 30 years on, by the way—and told the rest of the work force, “You’ll do as you’re told or you’ll end up the same as him.” On blacklisting, just talk to the construction industry. When blacklisting took place, it took me two and a half years to get a...
David Hamilton: The CRT has done a tremendous amount of work. Was my hon. Friend as disappointed as I was when the issue was devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly and the first thing they did was to cut the money?
David Hamilton: Does my hon. Friend share my concern that we have to make sure that this is pushed through under Sewel, because although this is English and Welsh legislation, its effects will cover the whole of the United Kingdom?
David Hamilton: Surely that is the whole point. Royal Mail needs the cross-subsidy to be able to deliver to the sparsely populated areas that my hon. Friend and I represent. That is key, and the ombudsman has to take it into account in relation to fair competition.
David Hamilton: Comrade.
David Hamilton: Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that point?
David Hamilton: Will the hon. Gentleman give way? Put up or shut up.
David Hamilton: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?